To the editor,
Re: Community policing could be revamped, Sept. 12.
Having recently resigned from the security and safety committee, I can’t agree with the push to keep the Community Policing and Services Office open with the addition of two more bylaw officers. First, yes, they are peace officers, but only for enforcing bylaws and they will call on the police for more pressing matters. Second, we need a completely different approach, yet, I find that all we have is Band-Aid solutions.
The issues plaguing downtown, and every other community require out of the box thinking and co-operation amongst many agencies, the business community, residents, and various NGOs.
I have been down this path before, and for downtown Nanaimo.
There is a lot of myopic thinking, but the problems are broad based and ongoing.
There is prevention, enforcement and the penalty phase.
There is a lot that can be done on the prevention side, but requires co-operation from the business community, police and some city departments.
I had a conversation with a business owner that recently suffered a break-in. Her landlord put up an exterior door with bars and will add bars to all the windows. I suggested security film as it would add protection from broken windows. Bars would send a message to burglars to go elsewhere, but it also sends a message to visitors of downtown that the area is not safe.
Appropriate lighting, natural and increased surveillance, more patrols, clean streets and buildings, reduced opportunity, increased risk (of getting caught), enforceable signage, and more interaction with the street population would pay dividends in helping reduce crime in my view.
Crime is a 24-hour problem, and we need a 24-hour solution.
Nanaimo had an ambassador program in the past, but what is needed is a different approach, and perhaps an umbrella organization to oversee it. In some communities exists a crime prevention association. Perhaps Nanaimo needs to consider solving its crime issues from a grassroots level.
Rick Hyne, Nanaimo